Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Waiting and Praying
A few years back my family hiked Old Rag. It was a challenging experience for me physically, but by the end of the hike, my trust in the Lord was challenged as well.
As we hiked, but older boys strayed from the well worn path and took to the boulders above. Like mountain goats, they leapt from rock to rock and my heart leapt in my throat. I had to quit watching them or I would have been sick or would have demanded they come down. I tried that at first, but they didn't listen...they were looking for adventure.
The little brother was holding them back. They felt like they could move so much faster without a tagalong, so as we neared the end of the trail, as the sun was getting lower in the sky, they asked if they could hike on ahead to the parking lot and wait for us there. How much trouble could two teen boys get into on a simple path that led straight to the lot? We sent them on their way and resumed our slow trek out.
Finally, we got to the parking lot, but our boys weren't there! We had taken a longer time than expected but they should have been where we told them to wait. We looked all over and called out, but no answer. My husband ran down to the creek thinking boys like to throw rocks but they weren't there either. We began asking emerging hikers if they had seen them but the answer was always no.
My heart grew so heavy. Even now as I write this, I remember the dread...the awful dread that I felt. I had lost my boys, my precious precious boys, and my frightened mind jumped to the worst conclusions. My husband hugged me and told me to wait in the car with Jonathan and he'd go back up the trail and look for them. So, Jonathan and I sat and we waited. I had my Bible in the car with me and I clutched it to my chest, praying over and over simple little words....oh please, oh please, oh please...not really knowing what to say except bring them back to me, oh God!
After what seemed like an eternity, the dusk gathering and the chill increasing, I heard voices. They were laughing voices, chattering voices and I recognized them as my boys! They were safe and fine and having the best time. I threw my arms around them and praised God they were safe. John soon came out of the woods and we all very happily piled into the van and headed home, crisis over for the day.
The interesting thing is that they never thought of themselves as lost. They had accidentally taken a fork in the path which lead to a different car lot. They realized this right away and turned around and headed back but it took a while and they had no way of knowing we were looking frantically for them. I'll never forget that day and my fear, but I'll also never forget God's protecting hand and His comfort.
My friend and fellow sister in Christ, Sheila Lueking, has been going through this for a couple of weeks now. Her son, Derek, is missing in the Smoky Mountains and volunteers have been faithfully searching for him, going up trails, asking other hikers if they've seen him. Day after day this is going on, with Sheila and her family praying and not giving up hope that Derek will come laughing and chattering down a trail and be returned to them, having had an adventure but whole and fine.
I'm praying for the Luekings out of the place in my heart that, in a very tiny way, understands. In no way can I really compare my lost boys story, but it gives me the most minute glimmer of what they are experiencing and it helps me pray. Join me in praying for them and if you have any information on Derek Lueking, you can contact us here at the blog, or you can contact his family through their Facebook page.